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Australia’s island retreat for lizards and wealthy sailors

Fourth and last in a series from Queensland, Australia Lizard Island, a beachy piece of the 1,200-mile Great Barrier Reef, is named for its primary inhabitants. They are joined, especially in Australia’s winter, by sailors, fishermen, campers, and other world travelers drawn by the reef’s bounty. Most of Lizard Island is a national park. Swimmers and […]

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Cruising, making hay in the Carnival Sunshine

Older ship sparkles after a $155 million makeover When I boarded the new(ly renovated) Carnival Sunshine for a week’s cruise out of New Orleans, my mission was to find out whether the 182 cabins that were added to the ship — now housing at least 364 additional passengers — made life onboard more crowded. Larger, […]

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From Daintree to Cooktown, Australia’s history and tropical treasures

third in a series from Queensland, Australia Daintree National Park in Queensland, Australia, is a world treasure. Most of the huge park is tropical rainforest, some of which has existed continuously for more than 110 million years. It may be the oldest rainforest on Earth. Some plant and animal species have been found nowhere else on […]

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Cairns, Australia, where crocs keep the beaches empty

second in a series from Queensland, Australia Much of what is accessible to travelers in northern Queensland, Australia, lies between Cairns and Cooktown. From Sydney, I flew into Cairns, then made my way north through Daintree National Park. The primary reason to go to Cairns is to book a snorkeling or diving boat to the Great […]

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Reef, Queensland’s history, lure cruisers north in Australia

First in series from Queensland, Australia A giant clam, which is a mollusk as big as a bear, opens wide to catch the sunlight. It sits on the shallow ocean floor at the Great Barrier Reef, where famed explorer Captain Cook scraped some serious wood off the bottom of his ship, the Endeavour, trying to […]

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Cruising on Disney Magic, an Iron Man makeover

Teaching an old dog new tricks is an expensive proposition for cruise lines. But it’s a lot cheaper and quicker than building a new cruise ship from scratch. These days, with the speed that technology and innovative designs are changing the cruise experiences for passengers aboard new ships — and the corporate need for increased […]

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Cruising the Caribbean on MSC Divina

Good Morning, your European ship has arrived in Miami North Americans may not be aware that saying “Hello” or “Good morning” to fellow passengers and crew, strangers whom you meet in the hallways, is not an ordinary exchange of greetings on a European cruise ship. Passengers from Europe do not expect a friendly greeting of […]

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Leaving Vietnam with memories of 2013 and 1968

Last in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia My first trip to Vietnam ended in mid-March 2013. I flew out of Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City a few weeks shy of 45 years since I was drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam War. As a soldier, I never made it […]

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Cruising to Saigon, where people still are careful

Sixth in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia For our last day on the Mekong River, the Avalon Angkor was docked in downtown Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), which was abuzz with people at work, at play and, in between, riding their motorbikes. Lots of locals still call it Saigon, this […]

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Good Morning, Vietnam, cruising on the mighty Mekong River

Fifth in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia   On the edge of the Mekong, Cambodian and Vietnam flags flapped in an early morning wind at the border station. Crew aboard the Avalon Angkor approached soldiers from the station with some trepidation, as border officials here are known to insist on […]

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